A couple Irishy things

I was just reading through some old posts and came upon this one from two years ago — I thought you all might be interested in seeing it again, I love learning things like this! ☘

Sancta Nomina

I watched this video the other day and just died: Americans Try to Pronounce Traditional Irish Names. So true, so funny.

And I meant to post this on St. Paddy’s Day and forgot: Selected entries from “Some Common Words Derived From Christian Names” (in Withycombe):

Biddy: nickname for an Irish-woman, from the prevalence of the name Brigid in Ireland; hence old biddy, an old woman. Also used for calling chickens.

mick(e)y: temper, possibly, like Paddy, from the supposed short temper of the Irish, with whom this is a common name.

Paddy: nickname for Irishman (cf. Biddy).

paddy(whack): a rage, fit of temper. (From the supposed irascibility of the Irish.)

View original post

Birth announcement: Lilianna Mary Grace and Lucia Virginia Rose!

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her twin girls have arrived! They have been given the gorgeous, meaningful names … Lilianna Mary Grace and Lucia Virginia Rose!

The mama writes,

I just wanted to let you know that our baby girls were born Monday 9/5/16 via emergency csection. They are 30 weekers so they are still in the NICU, please keep both girls in your prayers.

We chose the names
Lilianna Mary Grace and we call her Lily
Lucia Virginia Rose and we call her Lucy
Lily was 3lb2oz and Lucy was 3lb10oz. If you remember they are our rainbow babies, and I began the pregnancy at the Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, everyday, praying a Novena for her intercession. After that each of my doctors appointments ended up on a Marian feast day, which I did not do intentionally. I decided very early that we would give the girls Marian names. During our consultation we discussed that Lucia wasn’t completely Marian but related to Mary. I have since found out that there is an Our Lady of Light and Lucia means light, so it is more Marian than we thought.
The most amazing sign from Our Lady though happened 3 days after they were born when our priest came to give me the anointing of the sick after my csection, he also offered to baptize our girls! On The Feast of the Nativity of Mary our girls were welcomed into the church. It was beautiful.”

Can you believe all the Marian connections!! These girls were covered by her mantle the whole pregnancy, and their amazing names reflect that so beautifully!

After the initial email, I received another update on how they’re doing:

Right now we are just working on getting Lily off oxygen and possibly off her IV tomorrow if she does well. Lucy is still adjusting to eating so we are hoping she starts tolerating her milk soon.”

Please keep these beautiful babies and their family in your prayers!

Congratulations to Mom and Dad and the girls’ handsomely named big brother Erick Bruce III, and happy birthday Lily and Lucy!!


Lilianna Mary Grace in purple hat, Lucia Virginia Rose in gray hat

Lucy is smiling, Lily is cuddling ❤

Celebrity guest: Katheryn, expert on naming and adoption

Last month I told you that I’d received a request to write about names for adopted children, and so many of you gave great feedback with your experiences — I intended to put it all together along with some of my own research into a post or article (and I still might), but then one of you wonderful readers — Katheryn from the blog Bucket and Roon and Etsy shop Juniper Plum (gooorgeous icons and other beautiful things for children!) — emailed me because she has extensive experience with adoption: two of her sisters and her four children all came to her family through adoption (both international [sisters] and domestic [children]).

I already followed Katheryn on Instagram because her kiddos’ ah-MAZ-ing names had caught my attention (and also their general cuteness and amazing style! 😍), and so I was absolutely thrilled to hear more about their naming, and that of her sisters as well. I know you’ll love what she has to say!


Kate: You said you have open adoptions with all your kids. In your experience, what role does the birth mom/birth parents play in the naming of the child?

Katheryn: Generally, in domestic infant adoptions, the birth parents choose a name to go on the original birth certificate at the hospital. This is the child’s legal name until the adoption is finalized, usually at around six months of age. When the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents are issued a new birth certificate with them listed as the child’s parents, and it is at this time that the child’s name is also legally changed to the name they have chosen. Sometimes birth parents will chose a name that is special to them, sometimes they love the name the adoptive parents have chosen so will write that name on the original birth certificate from the beginning, or sometimes they might decline to write a name at all.

Kate: Relatedly (and maybe this is answered in the first question), do you consider the birth mom/birth parents when choosing a name for your children? For example, giving the birth mom’s first name as your daughter’s middle?

Katheryn: It often means a lot to the birth parents if you try to include them in the naming somehow. I’ve heard of several adoption stories where both the parents and birth parents had picked the same name separately on their own! Some parents will offer to let them chose the middle name, or some will share a list of the names they are deciding between and let the birth parents have the final pick. Sometimes parents choose to honor their child’s birth heritage in other ways, either by naming them after a birth parent, using a name in the birth family tree, or using an initial that is the same as the birth mother’s.

Kate: Have any of your children been older when you adopted them, having already been given a name that they’ve become attached to? If so, how do you handle naming?

Katheryn: All of our children were adopted at birth, so we haven’t dealt with this, but while most families who adopt older children will choose a brand new first name, others will keep the name they have, choose a variant of that name, or choose a name that is close in sound to their birth name to help with this.

Kate: In terms of international adoption, as you said you have twin sisters who were adopted from another country, what considerations did your parents give to their cultural heritage, if any?

Katheryn: My twin sisters were adopted from Vietnam at 9 months old. My parents chose to honor their birth heritage by giving them middle names with the same meaning as the meaning of their birth names.  My sisters’ birth names meant “river” and “rose” in Vietnamese. So my parents chose the names Camille Sabrina Pia and Zellie Rose Pia for them. With international adoptions, a lot of the time parents will get very little information about their child’s background, and sometimes all the child really has of their birth history is their name.

My twin sisters are only ten — I am the eldest of 12. My parents had ten bio kids before they adopted the twins after I was married. But at the time we hadn’t met anyone else named Zellie. My parents spelled it that way to help with pronunciation issues. It’s wonderful how it seems to be booming in Catholic circles now though!

Kate: If you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to know the stories behind the naming of each of your children—both how/why you chose their names, and also what role the birth moms/parents played, if any.

Katheryn: Our oldest is Verity Majella Judea Hawthorne. Her first name is a combo name “Verity Majella,” like “Mary Elizabeth,” but we call her Verity most of the time. We fell in love with Verity because of its meaning, “truth.” Majella is after St. Gerard Majella, patron saint of mothers, to whom I grew to have a special devotion through all my years of praying for a baby. Judea is after my deceased Grandma Judy. Verity was due on her birthday and when my Grandpa found out he asked if we would consider naming Verity after her. I also loved the biblical symbolism of Judea. Hawthorne is her connection to her birth history. She was born in Missouri, and the state flower there is the White Hawthorn Blossom. She is also named after the remarkable Rose Hawthorne, daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Our second daughter is Gethsemane Juniper Anne. Gethsemane has been the name dearest to my heart since I was a girl. Back when I thought I might have a vocation, I hoped I would be able to pick it as my religious name someday. I love it because it is the name of the garden that Jesus would retreat to, a place where He would seek solace and peace- we tell our Gethsemane that it is the name of His favorite garden. I also think of it as a symbol for the beauty of choosing God’s will over our own, since it is there when in His agony Jesus prayed, “not my will, but Thine be done.” Gethsemane also means “peace,” so she is also named after Mary, Queen of Peace. Juniper is after St. Junipero Serra (my husband and I both grew up around the Missions and were married at Carmel Mission) and also Servant of God Brother Juniper, known as “the renowned jester of the Lord.” When we were matched with her birth mother, we agreed on naming her together. She wanted to choose a middle name, so she picked Anne, because it was a family name on her side and it just so happened to be a family name on my side as well.

Then came our Bosco, whose full name is Bosco Willis Yard. I was so sure that we would have another girl that we hadn’t talked about a boy name, but Bosco had been both my husband’s and my favorite boy name for many years. Can there be a better patron for a little boy than St. John Bosco? Willis Yard is the name traditionally given to the first born son on my father’s side of the family, so we knew we wanted that somewhere in his name. Bosco’s birth parents wanted his naming left completely up to us, but Will is a family name on his birth father’s side as well.

Our latest blessing is Hyacinth Clemency Veil. With our three previous adoptions we had short adoption waits, ranging from 6 weeks to 4 months. For Hyacinth we waited almost three years. Some days, the only thing that kept me believing that we were doing God’s will and that He really did call us to adopt again was her name written on my heart. Even before we adopted Bosco, one day out of the blue, God spoke the name Hyacinth to me. It had never been on any of our name lists, but just like that it was tattooed on my heart and I just knew that our next daughter was to be named Hyacinth. She is named after St. Hyacinth of Poland. Clemency is after the Divine Mercy. I am passionate about the Divine Mercy devotion, and knew I wanted to name our next child after it in some way. Hyacinth was already born when her birth mom contacted our agency, and just guess whose feast she was born on — St. Faustina’s. Her birth mother originally wanted a closed adoption, but we are forever grateful that she changed her mind and met us at the hospital. When we asked if she wanted to chose a name with us she declined, but one of the few things she shared about herself with us was that she loves the color purple. When we told her that the meaning of the name Hyacinth is “purple,” the biggest grin broke out on her face. Before that, one of the only things I didn’t like about the name Hyacinth was its meaning, since purple seemed like such a lame meaning, but it ended up being just perfect. Veil is after the Holy Protection of Our Lady, since Mary’s veil is known as a symbol of her motherly protection and care. We felt like our whole adoption process and journey to Hyacinth was wrapped in Mary’s veil of love and protection and wanted to honor her in our daughter’s name. Traditionally the image of Mary, Mother of Mercy is one of Mary shown with her veil spread out over her children. We thought that was a very special connection between Clemency and Veil!

Wasn’t this all just so beautiful? There was so much love and respect and prayer that went into each name choice! I hope you all learned as much as I did about the naming of children who come into families through adoption — thank you so much to Katheryn for sharing her experiences!


♥♥♥♥ Gethsemane Juniper Anne, Bosco Willis Yard, and Verity Majella Judea Hawthorne holding Hyacinth Clemency Veil ♥♥♥♥

Some more fun things (St. Anne, sibsets, books)

First, our reader Shelby sent me this amazing photo:


With this note,

Recently went to Vienna and went to a string concert at St. Anne Church. Their tabernacle was kind of unique and it says Anna at the top (picture attached). The website shows a nice picture of their St. Anne statue. www.annakirche.at

Made me think of Sancta Nomina and how in many European churches the patron saints name or statue is right on the altar. St. Stephen’s in Budapest is particularly impressive. En.bazilika.biz

Can you see it there? “Anna” in the middle of the rays? So cool!

While we were on vacation in my parents’ lake cabin last week, I came across old issues (like over ten years old, yes we are that kind of family) of the Franciscan University alumni magazine with these great sibsets shared in the “Class Notes” section:

(I was particularly impressed that they have a Mary, Sarah, and Clar3, as I think we’ve talked before about whether or not these names are too similar for sisters? I think they’re great here)

J0hn Paul (new info for the John Paul entry on the Sibling Project page!)

D0min!c G!les (both names given — could this mean it’s a double name?? 😍)
Mar!a Ver0n!ca (ditto D0min!c G!les)

I’ve also wanted to do a couple book reviews recently, but I’m just not getting to them and I want to alert you to them in case you’d like to know about them. First is African Saints, African Stories: 40 Holy Men and Women by Camille Lewis Brown, Ph.D. It was an interesting mixture of saints that I’d forgotten were/don’t think of as having been (or were likely, though not known for sure) African, like Sts. Augustine, Perpetua, and Felicity, as well as those I do know, like Sts. Josephine Bakhita and Charles Lwanga and Companions and Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi. There are several also listed as “Saints in Waiting” — those of African descent who led exemplary lives and may someday be canonized — and one of them particularly caught my eye today for a totally different reason. Sr. Thea Bowman took the name Thea upon entering the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration for its meaning, “of God,” and in honor of her dad, Theon. Theon! Anyone who’s familiar with the horrible character Theon in Game of Thrones will be as interested to see this tidbit as I was.

Another book, which I’d gotten for myself for Mother’s Day 😁 is The Name Therapist: How Growing Up with My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need to Know about Yours by Duana Taha, author of the Duana Names column at Lainey Gossip. It was really sort of half memoir about growing up with an unusual name, and half textbook teaching the reader all the namey things Duana’s learned and her opinions on it all, all of which goes back to the particular ways her life/interests/perspectives have been shaped by having been given an unusual name. I enjoyed it! It was definitely the most unusual “name book” I’ve ever read. Sort of like all the commentary of the Baby Name Wizard and another of my favorites (because of the commentary), Puffy, Xena, Quentin, Uma: And 10000 Other Names for Your New Millennium Baby, without any of the name lists.

Finally, I got Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints by Colleen Swaim with my preteen and his quickly-growing brothers in mind, and though I’ve put it where I know they’ll see it and be likely to pick it up (the, ahem, bathroom), I haven’t yet asked them what they think of it. I’ll get back to you when I do!

That’s all for now, folks! 😀

Birth announcement: Beatrice Lucia Marie!

I posted a consultation back in February for Elizabeth and her husband, and she’s just let me know her baby girl has arrived and been given the gorgeous name … Beatrice Lucia Marie!

Elizabeth writes,

I feel like proclaiming “Habemus Nomen!” Baby Beatrice is 1 month old today, and we just finalized her name! I’m notoriously bad at decisions, and this was a particularly tough one.

Beatrice Lucia Marie arrived on April 13 at 5:27am (after an amazing but whirlwind less-than-5-hour labor in which we made it to the birth center just 13 minutes before she was born). She was a perfect 6 pounds, 12 ounces and 19 inches long.

Here’s basically how it went:

We had pretty much narrowed first names down to Mary or Beatrice in the last few weeks of pregnancy. I was almost certain her name would be Mary, so I was surprised that when we saw her, we were both knew immediately that she was not a “Mary.” It still took us a good 48 hours to commit to “Beatrice.” But we were at a total loss on her middle name. We had too many great options and none that filled every criteria we had. We narrowed it down to Lucia, Chiara, Vittoria, Maria and Caterina and then down to Lucia, Chiara, or Caterina. We love St. Catherine of Siena. She’s such a powerhouse saint and one of the 2 patrons of Italy (along with St. Francis of Assisi). The fact that I lived in Siena for 6 months in college and Brian has visited there with me a couple of times was a big draw, too. And I just love her quote about setting the world on fire…But I felt like I just couldn’t come to terms with the potential mispronunciation, and I actually prefer Catherine, so maybe we’ll keep that in mind for a future daughter! 🙂 We went back and forth on Chiara and Lucia. I really liked that there is so much more documented about Chiara and the connection to Francesco (George’s middle name, as I’m sure you recall), and now there’s also Bl. Chiara “Luce” Badano. In the end, though, we decided that Lucia just fit her best. And we like the way it flows. And neither of us wanted to let it go since we’d loved the name from the start. And George called her Lucy for weeks during my pregnancy. We still struggled with the fact that so little is known about St. Lucia… but the essence of her story is so relevant to a Catholic growing up today. Lucia is such a strong example of standing up for your faith in a society that is (sometimes/often) hostile to it. Plus we love that it means light. And Beatrice could also claim Bl. Chiara Badano as a patron with the Luce-Lucia link.

As I said before, I was really hoping for a Marian name for baby Bea, and maybe they’re a stretch, but I came up with a few connections that I like (and I thought you’d appreciate). First, St. Beatrice founded the Order of the Immaculate Conception. Also, Beatrice in Italian is simply blessed (“beata” — or “beatus” in Latin) + ending indicating a female (“trice”). So, even though it’s usually said to mean “bringer of joy” or “she who brings joy” (which I love), to my Italian-centric ear it’s more accurately “she who is blessed,” which immediately makes me think of the Blessed Virgin Mary and “blessed are you among women…” Also the initials B.L.M. make me think of “Blessed Mother.” (Not quite so obvious as B.V.M. but it’s still reminiscent of Our Lady.) Then there’s Lucia of Fatima. And did you know there’s a Madonna della Luce/Our Lady of Light? So… Marian connections! Finally, at 2 weeks, we had the birth center send in her official documents with the name Beatrice Lucia!

But I still felt like something was missing and wasn’t totally at peace about her name. I even called our state’s department of health to see what the rules were for changing middle names on the birth certificate. (You have until the baby is a year old to change the name! I think that includes first and middle names.) I really wanted her to have a form of Mary in her name, and we talked about adding Marie as a second middle. I liked the idea of carrying on the tradition of “Marie” (both my mom’s and my middle name), but both Brian and I had mixed feelings about a double middle name (for a few reasons, mostly logistics though). We’d been praying about it, and stumbled across the solution when we were finalizing the info for her baptismal certificate. (She’ll be baptized this Sunday!) When I mentioned our middle name dilemma to the office manager at church and asked if it might be an issue if we changed her middle name later, she said the name on her baptismal certificate did not have to match her legal name. Total lightbulb moment! I called Brian immediately, and we decided that the perfect solution would be to have her baptized as Beatrice Lucia Marie and keep her legal name as Beatrice Lucia! (For now… we have 11 months to change our minds about that. ;)) I immediately felt a flood of peace about the whole thing, which had been weighing on me heavily since she was born. I’m so glad that she’ll have Marie as an official, even if not legal, part of her name! Bonus, I think my mom is pretty happy about it. 🙂 It’s great that she has connections to all sides of our family, too: Beatrice (mother-in-law’s suggestion and, inexplicably, her nickname in Jr. High(!)), Bea (my paternal grandmother’s nickname), Lucia (husband’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Lucas), and Marie (my mom’s middle name and mine)….

We’ll mostly call her Beatrice but also use the nickname “Bea.” (She ended up being born the day before my grandmother’s birthday (Albina a.k.a “Bea”)!)

We’ve also gotten a bit creative with other nicknames. I’m not sure if any of these will stick, but I thought you’d appreciate them.

Bea (“bay-ah”; nn for Italian pronunciation of “bay-ah-tree-chay)
Bella (first and last letters of her first and middle names)

I’m all a-swoon over all these details!! What a beautiful, thoughtful, meaningful name Elizabeth and her husband have chosen for their little girl!!

Baby Beatrice joins equally well-named big brother:

George Francesco

Nice job, Mom and Dad! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Beatrice!!

Beatrice Lucia Marie with her big brother and parents